The Waterzande construction project can continue: “My day can’t be wrong”
The Waterzande client hastened for a long time to launch the first phase on the old ferry square, but had to wait for the decisions of the Council of State. Clean Polder has resisted since 2007 with dozens of objections, enforcement requests, public access to documents requests and lawsuits. Not so much against the construction of the seaside village, but against the construction so close to the Natura2000 area and against the raising of the Western Perkpolder with, according to the foundation, 1.5 million cubic meters of possibly contaminated soil from the port area of Antwerp .
These appeal decisions are now published. The Council of State gave the green light to the construction of the first section and the dumping of land to raise the polder. The Council of State considers that Hulst should not have objected to the transportation and spreading of the soil, as required by the foundation. Project developer Wim van den Abbeele is “thrilled”: “My day couldn’t have gone wrong. I already received dozens of enthusiastic messages this morning from buyers who finally saw their project come to fruition.”
The Clean Polder Foundation is not yet conquered. According to Charles Heiszler, the nature permit is still under discussion. This is the subject of a separate procedure before the Council of State and, for him, this judgment could put a brake on his work. “We don’t want to become a landfill for Antwerp. With the TGG dike, we have already received a lot of waste from the Netherlands, now Belgian waste is added to it.”
Heiszler is not shocked by the decisions of the Council of State, but read the text “with crooked toes”. He says it’s disappointing that the highest court doesn’t draw a line through the land supply. In the eyes of Schone Polder, too much land is provided; much more than is strictly necessary to prepare the construction area. The developer of the project believes that the land is necessary to give a unique character to the new residential area. In this way, the inhabitants can contemplate the Western Scheldt from their homes. Otherwise, they would face the dike.
Van den Abbeele expects the first shovel for the houses to be in the ground by summer. He considers it logical that the entrepreneur is not yet in the starting blocks. “If you want to have a door painted, the painter will not wait for your call: you have to start tomorrow. Then he will also do other things in the meantime.”
Last spring, Waterzande started supplying the soil for the Westelijke Perkpolder, the area that will be used for residential construction in the following phases. The area will be watered via a hose from a boat. This work has been interrupted since the end of last year, not because of legal proceedings but “for reasons of civil engineering”. According to the project promoter, the earth supply will continue next month, after the winter period. “I hope we can now put this behind us and that people will now realize that this is a very nice project for the region. No hard feelings for the foundation.”
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